Orlando City has only played five games so far in 2017 and has only scored six goals in those five games, but we already have a contender for the Lions’ Goal of the Year thanks to Scott Sutter and Will Johnson connecting on Saturday against the LA Galaxy.
If you have already forgotten the goal — and if you have, maybe don’t be so drunk nine minutes into the game next time — here’s a quick refresher:
This goal starts before that replay even shows. Johnson, who you will see flying forward at the top of your screen, served in a corner kick in the ninth minute. The corner was cleared out back into the midfield, dragging both teams up with it. Johnson, meanwhile, was making his way back quickly and reacted to Sutter’s clearance heave up the field, working hard to get back onside and then running like the wind to get to the ball.
All the while, Nathan Smith, LA’s right back, had no idea Johnson was charging in behind, as Johnson knew right off the bat that not much attention was being paid to him after working in the corner attempt.
"When you take the set piece and the ball gets knocked out, a lot of times, the guy who takes the piece isn't accounted for,” Johnson said after the match, recalling his strike. “So I just tried to time my run, stay onside and once it sat up for me on my first touch, I knew that I could try to get it over him, to the back post.
Sutter, just trying to get the ball “back into the danger zone” (LANAAAAAAAA!), as he told us after training on Tuesday, was able to find Johnson, who chested the ball down, let it bounce once, then right-footed a volley over Clement Diop into the top right corner of the net.
“Obviously I saw him and said, ‘Will, get ready!’” Sutter joked. “But no, it’s kind of a difficult situation when you’re the last man back, the ball gets played to you, and you’ve got people sprinting towards you from the opposition. So you try to get it back into the danger zone. I knew there was someone out there because that was the side the corner was taken from, and obviously Will took it down and basically gave me an assist on the play.”
Perfectly choreographed set-piece goal or not, it was a beautiful goal that will, sadly, not get much attention moving forward because it happened to come the same weekend as David Villa’s midfield lob goal against the Philadelphia Union. However, we’ll always be able to appreciate it. And that’s enough for me.